Kent transport

Day 6 of the Kent teachers’ strike: no school on Thursday September 1

As the teachers’ strike enters its sixth day on Thursday, September 1, their union leaders and local residents continue to show their frustration at the lack of a contractual agreement or even any movement with Kent School District negotiators. .

There have been 10 days of little to no movement from the district, a spokesman for the Kent Education Association (KEA, teachers’ union) said on Wednesday evening August 31. The spokesperson also confirmed that the negotiation between the two parties took place virtually via a State Mediator of the Employment Public Relations Commission.

Residents continue to post on the Kent School District’s Facebook page how fed up they are with the district’s inability to reach a contractual agreement with striking teachers.

A district post on Wednesday August 30 said there would be no school on Thursday September 1 due to the strike. It will be the sixth day of the strike and no school since the walkout began on August 25, the first scheduled day of school.

“The Kent School District and the Kent Education Association (KEA) negotiate every day,” according to the district. “Our common goal is to open schools and welcome our students.”

Like days before, it didn’t take long for people to start posting comments on the district’s latest statement.

“KSD – the community is always behind the teachers and staff,” said Keayleen Carosino. “It’s time to come to the bargaining table and give teachers what they need to educate our children. We will wait. Hold on KEA.

Many residents are upset with the district’s release on Tuesday and its claims about small class sizes and the mental health support it provides for students. A weekend article on wages also upset locals.

The union has highlighted key issues such as wage increases, more mental health support for students, smaller class sizes and fewer cases for special education teachers and others. posts.

“No school, no surprise,” said Lori Monahan. “We support our teachers! Stop digging a deeper hole on social media and get busy with good negotiations already. You’re making fun of our neighborhood.

Debbie Ferry Matthes offered a solution.

“My grandma would lock them all in a room and tell them they couldn’t get out until you made things up or solved things,” Ferry Matthes said.

People are ready for a settlement that will open 42 schools and academies in the district with around 24,000 students and 2,000 teachers.

“KSD needs to negotiate,” said Vanessa Thomas Hernandez. “What they do is wait for the parents to turn on the teachers and force them out of the guilt. Email the board and (Superintendent Israel) Vela. This is unacceptable.”

The comments so far are overwhelmingly supportive of the teachers. In fact, none of the first 50 or so comments posted early Wednesday evening supported district leaders.

“Public servants paid with taxpayers’ money continue to disappoint the children they are supposed to educate and help them thrive,” said Michael Pires. “Yet another failure of this school district. We support our teachers who are underpaid and understaffed. They deserve more than our children. Stay strong KEA. Don’t give in to KSD’s mediocre offers. The community is with you.

Union responds to district demands

KEA leaders disputed information the district posted on its website Aug. 30 about class sizes. The district claimed in its report that the average class size is well below the limits of the current KEA contract.

“Parents know these numbers aren’t the reality in the classroom,” KEA Vice President Layla Jones said in an Aug. 31 email. “They know when they have to send 26 cupcakes for their child’s class because the cupcakes come in packs of 12 and they have to buy three.”

KEA Chairman Tim Martin also disputed the figures.

“Your child is in a bigger class than KSD’s numbers show,” Martin said. “That’s because KSD’s numbers are based on what they report to the state. These numbers include more than your child’s primary teacher(s). They also include music, orchestra, physical education and substitute teachers. They include teachers who have a contract with the district but who are not employees of the district.

“They also include other special program specialists provided by the district. Among them are librarians. They also include a portion of special education teachers who help students with special needs and often have much smaller class sizes due to the needs of their students.

High school games continue

The district issued a reminder that high school athletic programs are continuing as planned, with planned transportation for away games. All elementary and middle school sports and activities are postponed until further notice.

Kentwood, Kentridge, Kentlake and Kent-Meridian High Schools open the 2022 football season this weekend.


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